The report released by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) yesterday estimates that a total of Rs. 3,108 million has been spent by five candidates for their presidential election campaigning between October 14 to November 10.
CMEV National Coordinator Manjula Gajanayake said that Rs. 1,518 million in which 49 per cent of the total estimated cost was spent by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and Rs. 1,422 million has been spent for the election campaign of the New Democratic Front (NDF). It was 46 percentage shares of total estimated costs. He said these costs were incurred by candidates for their printed media, electronic media, social media and other ground-level election campaigns.
Accordingly, the costs of the SLPP has been estimated as Rs. 82 million for print media, Rs. 853 million for electronic media and Rs. 583 million as other costs while the NDF spent Rs. 175 million for print media, Rs. 544 million for electronic media and Rs. 703 million for its ground-level campaigns.
The CMEV estimates a total of Rs. 160 million for National People’s Power (NPP) election campaign, Rs. 6 million for Jana Setha Peramuna (JSP) and Rs. 2 million for National People’s Movement (NPM). Manjula Gajanayake said the majority of ads is being circulated in Facebook by the SLPP. The SLPP had shared 74 per cent ads in FB while 24 per cent ads shared on Facebook by the NDF and 2 per cent by the NPP.
Meanwhile, commenting on the expense for a voter, he said the election commission has allocated Rs. 5,500 million for 15,992,096 registered number of voters which is a Rs. 344 cost per voter. The CMEV urged the Election Commission to ask from political parties to reveal the source of funds used for election campaigning.
The CMEV requested citizens and the civil society to launch a strong campaign to introduce regulatory mechanisms to monitor financial expenses.
They demand to use mechanisms such as the RTI Act to seek information on election campaign costs. (Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya)